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VSN Presents: VHL and VHLM Mid-Season Awards Race


Alex
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@Zetterberg

 

As we have officially passed the mid-way mark of the season, we here at VSN held a survey to reflect and make some predictions as to which players, and GMs appear to be on their way to winning VHL and VHLM awards come the end of the season. There’s quite a few close races and others where certain players have gotten out to a sizable lead that may just be insurmountable, needless to say it should be interesting! Without further to do let’s dive right into it!

 

VHL:

Mike Szatkowski Trophy (Most Points):

1. Gunnar Odinsson (95)

2. Alex Letang (84)

3. Red Lite (83)

4. Jivere Zolnek (77)

5. Brendan Telker (77)

 

Kevin Brooks Trophy (Most Goals):

1. Gunnar Odinsson (41)

2. Red Lite (40)

3. Brendan Telker (37)

4. Pistil Stamen (31)

5. Groovy Dood (30)

 

Alexander Beketov Trophy (Most Assists):

1. Alex Letang (68)

2. Gunnar Odinsson (54)

3. Jivere Zolnek (52)

4. John Merrick (49)

5. Kristof Welch (48)

 

Scotty Campbell (MVP):

Winner: Gunnar Odinsson (MAL)

Runner Up: Red Lite (NYA) and Zamboni Driver (RIG)

 

Gunnar Odinsson is one of the main reasons for Malmo’s success this season, scoring 41 goals and adding 54 assists for a total of 95  points in 45 games is truly impressive. Currently Odinsson is on pace for over 150 points this season, a mark that was last passed by Podrick Cast way back in season 62. If Odinsson can make it there this will truly go to show that they are one of the best, if not the best player in the VHL right now. There was a two-way tie for second place here with two players who are having great seasons of their own, Red Lite is currently lighting it up with the New York Americans having scored 40 goals already, and Zomboni Driver has been solid all season and maintains a 0.923 save percentage. This race may seem to be out of reach at this point but, it could be one to watch down the stretch.

 

Brett Slobodzian (Most outstanding): 

Winner: Gunnar Odinsson (MAL)

Runner Up: Zamboni Driver (RIG) and Alex Letang (LAS)

 

Going hand in hand with the MVP award this season is the Brett Slobodzian award for the most outstanding player as we have it going to Gunnar Odinsson as their season has been outstanding to say the least. Odinsson is currently on pace for a point total that has not been seen in over 15 seasons with 150, scoring at a pace of just over 2 points per game. Once again we have had a two-way tie for second with Zamboni Driver who has been great in goal all season for Riga, and Alex Letang who could come close to some historic totals as well. Should Letang maintain or improve their play down the stretch this race could be very close.

 

Sterling Labatte (Top Defensemen): 

Winner: Alex Letang (LAS)

Runner Up: Robin Galante Nilsson (VAN)

 

So far this season Alex Letang has been dominant from the back end scoring at an impressive pace already having 84 points in 46 games. Additionally Letang has been having a great defensive season as they have already recorded 148 hits, 86 blocked shots and are a +27. Letang also leads all defensemen in points and the whole league in assists. The runner up here with Robin Galante Nilsson has had a solid season with 61 points in 47 games played, they also have had 127 shots blocked and 96 hits. While Nilsson’s defensive numbers are similar to that of Letang, there is just too much of a gap in their offensive production.

 

Alexander Valiq (Offensive Defensemen): 

Winner: Alex Letang (LAS)

Runner Up: Kristof Welch (DCD)

 

As stated already Alex Letang is having a stand out season for Los Angeles already having 84 points in 46 games putting them on pace for 132 points in 72, just 13 shy of the all-time record for points by a defensemen of 145 set by David Walcott set in season 26. If Letang’s pace picks up a little bit there is a real chance we could see this record that has stood for over 50 seasons fall. The runner up for the best offensive defensemen is Kristof Welch who currently leads all defensemen in scoring with 23 goals scored and is second behind Letang in total points by a defensemen with 71. Although both have put up impressive numbers this season, Letang's season could just be one for the history books and they are the one player to watch as the season nears its end.

 

Jake Wylde (Defensive Defensemen): 

Winner: Mikeal Keef (HSK)

Runner Up: Robin Galante Nilsson (VAN)

 

Mikeal Keef does all the small things right, although their point production isn’t elite as they only have 32 points in 47 games this season. Keef is currently ranked 3rd in shots blocked with 136, and is 1st among defensemen in hits already amassing an impressive total of 184. With their hit total being as high as it is, they have taken their fair share of penalties with 152 PIMs. The runner up here Robin Galante Nilsson could also really push to turn this into a race as realistically this award could very much go to a handful of players.

 

Aiden Shaw (Top Goalie): 

Winner: Zamboni Driver (RIG)

Runner Up: Jean Pierre Camus (CHI) and Artem Tretiak (MAL)

 

Zamboni Driver has been very good this season and has stopped almost everything thrown his way. His play has been so impressive that he received a vote in our survey for MVP. Currently Driver is 4th in the VHL in wins with 26, first in GAA with 2.63, and tied for first in shutouts with 2, and second among starting goalies in SV% with a 0.923. Driver is having a great season and is one of the reasons why Riga is playing as well as they are. There was another tie for runner up for the best goalie with Jean Pierre Camus of Chicago and Artem Tretiak from Malmo, with 26 and 28 wins respectively. Both of these goalies are having great seasons and are very much contributing factors to their teams success this season! With how they have been playing this award is very much in the air if anyone can outperform Driver the rest of the way.

 

Christian Stolzschweiger (top Rookie): 

Winner: Jerome Reinhart (VAN)

Runner Up: Tyler Reinhart (VAN) and Nathan Powers (PRG)

 

This year’s top rookie race was thought that it could have been a bit closer at the start of the season but, of late Jerome Reinhart has started to run away with it having already established a 11 point lead over teammate and sibling Tyler Reinhart. As of right now, Jerome Reinhart is first among rookies in points (53) and assists (28), and goals (25). This has left him with a comfortable cushion over the next 2 closest players as Tyler reinhart (42) and Jaromir Lemiuex (40). Additionally, Prague Defensemen Nathan Powers has made a name for themselves and leads all rookie defensemen with 23 points. Down the stretch this is Jerome’s race to lose and it will be interesting to see if they can be caught.

 

Scott Boulet (Top two way forward): 

Winner: Groovy Dood (DCD)

Runner Up: Duncan Idaho (MOS)

 

In the past few seasons no player has been better on both sides of the puck than Groovy Dood as they will be looking to win their third consecutive Scott Boulet award. Currently Dood sits first in hits with 250 hits, Dood has also had a great season offensively for DC as they have 30 goals and 35 assists for a total of 65 points in 46 games. Standing in the way of a potential 3-peat for Dood is Duncan Idaho,  the season 77 Christian Stolzschweiger award winner closely trails Dood in nearly every statistical category and looks to lead the next generation of two-way forwards in the VHL. The question remains though on if we will see a Dood 3-peat or if the torch could be passed on to Idaho.

 

David Knight (top GM):

Winner: @GustavMattias (DAV)

Runner Up: @Ricer13 (CAL) and @hylands (MAL)

 

In what was possibly the closest vote we saw Gustav currently holding a slim lead over both Hylands and Ricer as Davos has taken a huge step forward this season while still having prospects in the system like top prospect Darth Kaprizov. This season Davos has made 1 big mid-season trade to show they mean business acquiring Addison McLaren from Toronto for a prospect and draft picks. The step taken by Davos has been so large that they currently sit only 7 points back of their total from a season ago with 26 games remaining. The two runners up in this category have both shaped their teams into true contenders and it will be a very interesting race that could come down to a couple of games or the trade deadline.

 

Dustin Funk (Most improved):

Winner: Gunnar Odinsson (MAL)

Runner Up: Nils Talinder (CAL) and Pistil Stamen (LAS)

 

This season’s most improved player is almost a lock already with leading scorer Gunnar Odinsson. So far this season Odinsson has been almost unstoppable scoring at an incredible pace and has already surpassed their previous career highs of 34 goals and 70 points from season 77 with Helsinki. This season Odinsson has gone off to lead the league in every offensive category as they are the driving force behind Malmo’s offence and look to be possibly the best signing of the offseason. Other players who have taken considerable steps forward this season would be Nils Talinder who has 12 more points than last season in 24 fewer games with 34 and Pistil Stamen who will be easily surpassing their career high this season.

 

VHLM:

Ethan Osborne Trophy (Most Points):

1. Duncan Montana (100)

2. Bryn Yrwy (91)

3. Zach Kisslinger II (85)

4. Kyle Peace (83)

5. Mikey Markov (83)

 

Alexander Chershenko Trophy (Most Goals):

1. Bryn Yrwy (43)

2. Miroslav Tsarov (40)

3. Mikey Markov (38)

4. Kyle Peace (38)

5. Sunrise van de Schubbekuteveen (37)

 

Vladimir Boomchenko (Most Assists):

1. Duncan Montana (64)

2. Deke Rike (57)

3. Zach Kisslinger II (56)

4. Nathaniel Minion (56)

5. Gregory Bates (49)

 

Mitch Higgins (MVP): 

Winner: Duncan Montana (SSK) 

Runner Up: Bastain Greiss (MEX) and Darth Kaprizov (PHI)

 

Four year VHLM veteran Duncan Montana has back-to-back 110+ point seasons to his credit already, and he’s having an even better year this time around with 36 goals and 100 points in Saskatoon’s first 48 games. A lot has been asked of Montana as the Wild don’t have as much depth as some of the other elite VHL teams, but sporting a 33-12-3 record so far, he and some of the other Wild stars like Kyle Peace have been keeping the team afloat. He’s on pace to threaten the 150-point mark in the VHLM this season, an easy choice for MVP. Mexico City’s Bastian Greiss is currently leading the VHLM with an 0.904 SV% earning himself runner-up honours alongside Philadelphia’s Darth Kaprizov, who isn’t having as strong a season as Montana but deserves mention for his 32 goals and 78 points thus far - setting his VHLM career highs already.

 

Ryan Sullivan (top defensemen): 

Winner: Zdeno Chara (LVA)

Runner Up: Rhys Trenton (MEX) and Corey Kitson (MIS)

 

Las Vegas defenseman Zdeno Chara had 35 points in 72 games with Saskatoon last year, but was a first-round pick in the VHLM draft and a second-round pick in the VHL draft after getting his feet wet in the league. So far, he’s looking like he might provide a good return on investment for both Las Vegas and Moscow as he’s in the middle of a brilliant sophomore VHLM campaign. Chara has 28 goals, 73 points, 119 hits, and 130 blocked shots through 48 games, good enough for a slim lead on Rhys Trenton in the VHLM defenseman scoring race and showing a huge improvement from last year. Trenton is one runner up for this race, but while keeping up with Chara offensively, his defensive numbers (93 hits and 69 blocked shots) simply aren’t quite at that level. Mississauga’s Corey Kitson is the other runner up, and he, like Trenton, has good offensive numbers but simply can’t keep up with Chara on the defensive side of the ice.

 

Benoit Devereux (top goalie):

Winner: Bastain Greiss (MEX) 

Runner Up: Luke Spinelli (MIS)

 

Greiss has been instrumental in leading Mexico to VHLM contender status so far this season (hence the runner-up spot in the MVP race, too) and currently boasts a VHLM-leading 0.904 save percentage. He’s also second among starting goalies in the league with a 2.54 GAA. With a 32-12-4 record, Greiss clearly gives the Kings a chance to win every night he’s between the pipes. Mississauga’s Luke Spinelli has become somewhat of a VHLM legend, especially with the Hounds where he once posted a 50-9-0 record back in S77. Back for another round of Hounds contention, Spinelli is again among the VHLM leaders, with a 37-7-4 record, 0.897 save percentage, and 6 shutouts. Greiss’ consistency gives him the edge at this time, but it could be a race to watch down the stretch (and watch out for Saskatoon’s Leroy Johnson, too).

 

Matt Bentz (top two-way forward): 

Winner: Duncan Montana (SSK)

Runner Up: Sigard Petrenko (MIS)

 

If his offensive dominance weren’t enough, Montana has evolved into a terrific defensive forward for the Wild this season, too. With 85 hits and a +36 rating, the Wild are simply controlling the game while Montana is on the ice. He’s blocked 27 shots, too, a pretty significant number for a forward. It’s not necessarily a side of the game that Montana had been known for, but he’s come a long way in that regard. Mississauga’s Sigard Petrenko, the 7th overall pick in the VHL’s S79 draft, is a player who is more of an expected name in this award race. With 179 hits and a +32 rating, Petrenko has the physicality, smarts, and speed to lock down opposing forwards and has also chipped in 61 points in 48 games.

 

Jack Reilly (top GM): 

Winner: @Zetterberg (MIS) 

Runner Up: @Doomsday (SSK) and @thadthrasher (SDM)

 

After taking a year off to rebuild, Zetterberg’s Mississauga Hounds are right back at the top of the league in S79 with a 37-7-4 record and an offense that, with 239 goals for, is far and away the best in the VHLM so far. Bringing Luke Spinelli back between the pipes has been a big acquisition, and the team has a good mix of talented VHLM veterans like Gaspar Zakrevsky and Russell Dixon alongside high-end VHL prospects like AJ Williams, Baby Bob, Jakub Brozik, Tony Adams, Sven Eightnine, and Corey Kitson. They’ve got an incredibly talented, incredibly deep roster much like the one Zetterberg put together in S77 and the hope is that they will be able to finish off what that team wasn’t able to. If they keep playing like this, one would have to think they have a very good chance to do so.

 

With most of these races being as close as they are it leaves the door wide open for any player to come out of nowhere and take an award, all we really know at this point is that everyone’s predictions might not be looking too good. 

 

cc: @tcookie

 

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Edited by Alex_J32
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